Monday, 29 October 2012

Bath, B&B and Books

Have had a fabulous weekend away. Up early Saturday morning in order to drive the 2 1/2 hours to Bath. It felt as if we were never going to get there - that's the trouble when you're excited and as we approached Bath so were many others and it seemed to take a lifetime to get to the car park Once out in the bitterly cold sunny day we headed into the centre.

First stop was breakfast/lunch at a lovely small cafe called "Retro Cafe". Where I devoured a croque monsieur and a pot of tea. Oh boy was it filling - tons of melted cheese! With a very full belly we decided that we needed a walk - so headed off for the Royal Crescent.

This crescent has 30 terraced houses built by 1774. Lots of famous Lords have lived here over the years but now it is mainly privately owned but a substantial minority of the properties are owned by a housing association.

Of course Jane Austin's Persuasion was filmed here along with other films.

Sorry not a brilliant picture - discovered the limitations of my small camera.

The trees looked so pretty and the colours amazing.

But this tree looked rather out of place - it looks to me as if it belongs by the sea in some hot place.

Oh well onto the main reason for our visit - The Roman Bath Pump Rooms. (Well nearly had to stop for a quick play in the fallen leaves - big kids really!) This is a truly amazing place - well worth visiting along with the audio guide.


This is the ceiling in the entrance lobby - beautiful.

Amazing to think it was mainly buried and they have slowly been uncovering this area. From what I gather it was the Roman's equivalent of a leisure centre. Lots of different areas of swimming, relaxing, having massages and beauty treatments. Also there was a place of worship. Trying to get my head around what the treasurer of our church would say if I proposed converting the baptistry into a bathing area etc! The water comes from the Mendip hills and is about 46 degrees! I would have loved to have gone in the water if there hadn't been all that algae. And of course everyone puts their hands in the water even though there are signs forbidding you to do so!

After all this education it has to be time for tea and cakes. We found this gorgeous shop selling masses of varieties of tea and coffee - Tea House Emporium and then downstairs is a cafe. Oh boy I have never, ever seen a menu with pages and pages of varying types of tea. Even Mr P an avid coffee drinker could not resist having a tea and of course a delicious piece of raspberry and almond cream cake! I resisted the cake as I was still full from my lunch.

We just about had enough energy for a short stroll around the shops. But poor Mr P's feet and back were hurting (from the accident) and my shoulder too was letting me know we'd done enough. Time to call it a day and head to the B&B. Went onto late rooms to find this accommodation outside of Newport - Hazel Court
We paid £55 for a bedroom with a double bed, ensuite bathroom, television, dvd player (bookcase full of DVDs), dressing gowns, lots of smellies to use, kettle with lots of drinks and biscuits. Absolutely fantastic - rooms immaculate - not one bit of dust. Breakfast divine - masses of choice. Saw the B&B on Trip Advisor and it is full of praise. Well worth staying here if you are in this area. Oh nearly forgot to say went out to a lovely pub (recommended by the landlady) The Groes Wen Inn for a meal.

Sunday we drove to Hay on Wye, the weather not as nice - drizzly. But when you're spending your day going around all the second hand book shops it doesn't matter so much. After two shops we stopped for lunch - Shepherds Ice Cream Parlour and Cafe

Sadly this bookshop was closed on Sundays - would have been nice to have seen if they had any "nice murders"!
Sorry not much to say about this day - some of you are probably breathing a sigh of relief. But we had a lovely day and only spent £6 on books! Bit disappointing but good for the wallet!

Well I'm finishing now but just letting you know that I have not forgotten about the competition. Sometime this week I am going to make the prize. So keep watching this space.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Very Excited

Just to say I'm very excited as Mr P and I are off to Bath tomorrow morning. Hoping to see the Roman Baths and do all the touristy bits - I've never been there before. Staying in what looks like a lovely bed and breakfast outside Newport and then spending Sunday in Hay On Wye. There we are hoping to see lots of lovely wonderful second hand book shops. WHOOPEE - EXCITED!

OK you'll have to wait for a few days for the next posting. Happy weekend.

PS:- Think it's soon time for a new competition - so keep on reading, you don't want to miss out!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Trips To The Sweetie Shop and Family.

Last working week ended with my friend Mrs A luring me to our sweetie shop - otherwise known as The Fabric Guild. This is the most amazing place in Leicestershire. I hadn't been able to go for 5 weeks due to being unable to drive, so was having real withdrawal symptons. It's in the middle of an industrial estate with a tiny unassuming frontage but oh boy inside is a stitcher's heaven. Lots of beautiful fabrics to touch and squeeze, ribbons, buttons galore, a little wool, embroidery silks, crafting bits and bobs, books, scissors, cutting mats and the list could go on. What more can a girl want. I managed to resist breaking the bank and just bought a little.

Not a good picture, but I adore gingham and this was an end piece of pink and white check.

My real addiction is red and white gingham - think it's my association with great French holidays and the love of the country.

 Then there are these wonderful small charm packs - great for covering a bag, or a cushion, or for buntings. Golly at £1.75 you can't go wrong.

Then I chose these rather unusual needles for a ridiculously cheap price. One of my bags from France needs repairing - hence needing one of these needles.

And finally I found this great roll of ribbon for £2. Not sure what I'm going to do with it but figure it may come in useful for Christmas. So I was quite restrained with my purse.

Late Friday evening No 2 child and his wife from Leeds arrived to stay overnight on their way to a birthday party in Northampton. It was lovely to see them and catch up on all their latest news.


 Also No 3 child, hubby and dog came for the weekend from Bristol. Saturday started with a lovely cooked breakie all together and farewells to No 2 and then a walk to keep the dog happy. She really is rather sweet, Poppy.

The afternoon was rather civilised with the girls doing crafts and watching a nice murder. The  boys tinkering around with their car.  Evening we cooked a rather yummy meal. Sunday after church the boys went to hit some golf balls and guess what the girlies did - yes you've got it another trip to The Fabric Guild! Two trips in two days not bad eh! The shop hands out vouchers when you've spent a certain sum of money - which I am not going to disclose to the world here! Otherwise you'll all work out how much I have spent over the years! But with the help of No 3's purchases I was able to get these wonderful flannelette fat quarters.

Oh they tie them together so temptingly. And oh it is soooo soft.

Just look at all the lovely colours - aren't they gorgeous? Who can resist them?

The plan is to make a small quilt to have in the living room to cuddle up to when it gets a little chilly or when I need something to cuddle and stroke!

I also got a yard of some more flannelette material to hopefully compliment the fat quarters.

Will let you see when I have made the quilt - not sure when?

The rest of the day was filled with more yummy food, a nice murder and a glass of good red wine from my son in law (who'd been given it at a conference). So as you can tell I had a busy but rather special weekend. Looking forward to seeing No 1 and her hubby at Christmas and No 4 and his girlfriend at Christmas too.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Techno Disaster

Well this week sees the return back to work on slightly less hours than normal. But I need to show you some photographs of my phones to explain my problem.

This is my current work phone.

As you can see it's old but very easy to use and I have no problems with it. Does exactly what I want it to do.

This was my old personal phone.

I loved this phone. It was simple to use, even had a camera. Fitted snuggly into my pocket and more importantly did exactly what was expected. Then one sad day the middle button started sticking and got gradually worse. So I made a trip into town to upgrade my phone. Apparently it had been due to be upgraded several years ago!

So the young man looked into my phone usage saw what sought of phones I like to use and informed me that this Nokia was only a slightly newer variation of my old personal phone.

Well I liked the nice shiny new black phone with its pretty pictures. But oh boy it has been anything but simple to use! I amazingly managed to upload a free ring tone of "Mission Impossible" - which I think is really cool. But every now and then it disappears and reverts to the hideous Nokia tune, for no apparent reason and so I don't necessarily answer it because I think it's not my phone ringing! It also has access to the internet but I find that a bit haphazard.

Well last night I thought I must set my alarm as I have to be up at 6am and since being off work I have been getting up much later. So this morning my alarm went off and I sleepily walked down the stairs. As I was doing so I thought "golly it feels like the middle of the night" and by the time I reached the bottom of the stairs I suddenly saw the time - 4am! Aaaagh! Horror! Tried going back to bed but disturbed Mr P and so in vain I tried to sleep downstairs on the sofa. So tonight I'm reverting back to my old phone for the alarm call!

So please, Mr Nokia, please think of us oldies who have grown up in an era when we didn't even have a land-line at  home.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Unexpected Treat

Having been banned from week for the last week(due to the road traffic accident) - Mr. P and myself headed up north to our lovely home. Last went the beginning of July and it was so nice to be in it again. Mr P had to do all the driving as I am still unable to drive, but it gave him a good opportunity to learn to use the new cruise control button on our new car. We were blessed with glorious crisp sunny autumnal days. Mr P was able to do some paid work out in the garden.

Although the garden is rather small it is a brilliant sun trap. I was amazed at how many flowers were still showing off.

OK you are not seeing things - yes it is a toilet rescued from the community hall, next door, before it was rebuilt!

Twice we went for a walk on Holy Island. The picture below was taken late afternoon when the sky was an amazing colour. Lots of people with great big cameras were taking fancy pictures - but Mr P and myself did not feel well enough to mess around with the camera and took these next few photographs rather quickly. This is the back of Holy Island Castle.

This is looking from Holy Island across to the mainland at Beal.
One day we went for a walk around Ford Moss Reserve. I wanted to see some of the changing colours of the countryside.

Then we had to walk across one field where it looked as if these ponies were on guard duty and were deciding whether to let us through or not!

After a walk we then deserved a well earnt cuppa and scone at Ford Dairy - where they sell lots of retro/antiquey stuff!
Last day we spent back on Holy Island for another great walk along one of the many lovely deserted beaches.
Have been for some physio today - it appears that the pain could continue for quite some time, but hopefully after 4 weeks I should be getting 60-70% use back from my shoulder. Went to see my boss who is happy for me to return to work on the basis I do what I can do and do as much from home as I want - so that was good news. Also happy to pay for taxis etc.
Sadly unable to do any crafting still - now been 23 days since I've been able to do anything! And poor Mr P has been struggling with his health - lots of painful mouth ulcers, back ache and tiredness - to the point that he cancelled a trip to see our No 3 child and hubby, this weekend. Agreed to meet up the following weekend. Lets hope another week brings some healing a little faster.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

First Signs of Autumn

Well autumn has truly arrived at our home. The girlie's Millie and Mollie (the chickens) are moulting like mad.

 Their run is covered in masses of feathers and so is their bed.

  They appear well but are not laying so I googled the problem just to check they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and all appears to be correct. They are apparently replacing their feathers ready for winter but the shear effort means they haven't got the energy to lay any eggs!

No eggs in this bed:)

Well with all the drama of the last blog I forgot to say that we had to say goodbye to our old faithful Renault Scenic, which we'd had for many years. But so many things were beginning to not work right and what with the dashboard display disappearing it was time to call it a day. We had previously been to one of these large car supermarkets to get some idea of what car we might like to have. We didn't want another scenic because they do not come with regular hand brakes. So we had decided on a Citroen in the Picasso range. A couple of days after the accident Mr P went to the car market and chose a Citroen, he even test drived it, negotiated a cheaper price as he has seen the same model etc being sold cheaper somewhere else. The market agreed to do various jobs on the car and several days later he went to collect the new car. I did not go with him as I was so unwell but I noticed as he pulled up on the drive way that it was the same colour (black) that we had chosen but it was a different car! He'd picked and paid for the wrong car! Guess that says how poor his health was at the time too! But he'd already fallen in love with this new sporty Citroen C4 what can one say! He offered to take it back but it would be like taking sweets off a child. It looks a lovely car but I still cannot drive it due to my injury and I guess  we will just have to invest in a roof box when we next go camping.

Back to the topic of autumn and one of the gardens near to our home is covered again in these beautiful leaves.

This wall, I think, looks its best at this time of year.

 Later on today Mr P and I are off to our home in Northumberland for a few days rest, as I am not allowed back at work. Everyday I can feel improvements with my arm and shoulder but still not able to do any crafting. Now been around 18 days since I've done any! Will write next weekend. Hope you all have a good week.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Wishing To Rewind The Clock

Hi Friends
Apologies for not writing any sooner but the last 2 weeks have been such that I would like to have the capability of rewinding them and starting again. But seems as I am not Dr Who I shall just have to say it as it happened. It started with the car going into the garage for some repairs in order to get it's MOT certificate. So in order to get to work Mr. P took me on the back of the bike. On the return journey whilst travelling through the town centre a car went into us and drove off. Fortunately, we discovered later, a witness observed the whole incident and recorded the car registration number. There was a horrible moment when I saw Mr P just lying on the road with the bike on top of him and he wasn't moving. But to my relief he started talking and moving a little. In seconds we were surrounded by people and cars stopped all offering help and phoning 999. They were all so very kind and sadly I can't thank them as I have no idea who they were. To abbreviate the story we were taken to A & E. Mr.P had lots of nasty cuts, gashes, bruises and bruised ribs. For myself I sustained a dislocated collarbone, which was and still is to a lesser degree painful. Mrs A and hubby kindly took us home, except Mr P had to ride the bike back home! Thing is the story should end there but 6 days later we had booked to go to Marrakesh, in order for Mr P to marry some friends. So on the basis that I could not look after myself we both went.
As our flight was due to leave early Thursday morning we had booked to stay at a local hotel where they offered car park facilities whilst away, and a bus that runs every 5 minutes to the hotel. Well the car park ended up being in a different place, the bus running only every half hour and when it came it was full and they wanted to charge us £6 which we didn't have on us at that time(had been told it was free). So at 4.45am, me in a sling, we are walking and wheeling our cases along busy road back to the carpark to get the bus from there! What a sight we must have looked. Stansted was manically busy and it felt as if we were propelled through the place and somehow managed to be on a plane with me saying we are on the right flight? We were. Ok now to Marrakesh.

Having gone through a lengthy customs queue and bought the local currency which is only available once there, we finally emerged into the busy terminal and amazingly the taxi was actually still waiting for us!

The journey was not that far from the airport to the town but oh boy I'm not sure what the rules of the road are other than you stick roughly to the right of the road!

Every where there is traffic, bicycles, motorbikes and pedestrians just all over the road. It's like some crazy dodgem game. But there's not just 1 person riding a bike, not 2, not 3 but up to 4 people on a tiny scooter! All you can hear is the tooting of horns and the taxi swerving to avoid running someone over. Then we go through the walls into what is called the Old City. Outside of the walls is the new city with westernised hotels and shops. The roads become non existent and are full with alley ways, people, bikes and scooters. The driver stops and I'm thinking "oh my word, what have we come to, please don't leave us". He then says he's not taking us any further as the streets are too narrow but he does take my suitcase and we follow him through these streets filled with people selling their wares on upside down crates, dead cats, beggars etc.

Addition added 5.10.12 from a fellow reader as I loved the comment about my appalling grammar:-
" Wow - people selling their wares on upside down crates I can picture, but people selling their wares on dead cats and beggars must have been quite a sight..."
Then to a large dark wooden door which when opened lead us down a dark narrow corridor(again I'm wondering what have we done) and then all of a sudden opens up into the most beautiful courtyard.

Looking at this photograph the corridor looks reasonably light but when you come in from the top end it feels very different.

Below is a view of the courtyard from our bedroom.

The rest of this Thursday was spent recovering from the journey and only planning to go out in the evening to a pre arranged meal in a restaurant in the old town with the rest of the wedding guests. We had arranged to meet the bride and groom at 7pm and we were to follow them through the windy streets to the venue. Unfortunately we didn't get the correct time when we disembarked the plane and so were too late to follow. So we had to make our own way. We tried a taxi but he would only take us so far and then we were left stranded. But never worry there's always plenty of people desperate to earn some money by taking you by foot to your destination. Except our man was rather unhappy with his payment and had a right tantrum, but it was all that we had!

Not the best of pictures but it's rather hard when your right hand is in a sling to take pictures.

Friday was the day of the wedding and as I was on so many painkillers I was well dopey and so we opted to stay in the riad till the afternoon when the wedding was due to take place. One little God moment was that the riad the couple were getting married in was literally next door, so we didn't have far to go or the trouble of trying to find it.

Before the ceremony there was some traditional music and these guys were great and getting the guest involved and dancing.

I loved the way that the pool had all those lovely rose petals scattered on the surface.

Some of the dresses the girls were wearing were fabulous. The bride went to college to study to make wedding dresses and she made lots of friends who now make and sell their own clothes - hence the fab dresses! Oh and the bride made her own dress and the beaded belt! She also made my No.1 daughter's celtic styled wedding dress.

The cute bridesmaids.

The princess and her dad. She's so stunning and so petite.

View of Mr P marrying the lovely couple.

It was truly a spectacular wedding, followed by modern and traditional music. A lovely meal finished off with belly dancers etc. Unfortunately I only managed to stay to about 9.30pm because I felt so ill.

I'm not going to go into details of how and why I was ill as it is too horrible.
Saturday was spent lying in bed in the riad and then come late Saturday evening Mr P became ill too! Sunday morning we attempted to try and go out, in desperation at wanting to see and buy something from the market. I don't know how but we managed to walk to the beginnings of the market and purchased a teapot and glasses, one lovely leather bag for Mr P to use for work and a leather puff.

The man was carrying live chickens!

 This was a common site - lots of spices.

 Donkeys were a common sight.

 The guy in the picture is riding a motorbike and carrying glass/mirrors! Sometimes we saw people with huge poles - 8ft in length on bicycles!

 The outdoor barbecue sellers.

We collapsed back at the riad, packed and returned to the airport only to discover that the clocks had gone back over night and we were and hour early. But better that way. Have to say the airport has all the usual seating areas but also has a kind of market area with wonderful comfortable seating to fall sleep on.

It's a shame this area was only in the first part of the terminal and not available once you went through customs.

Couldn't quite make out the woman - wasn't sure if she was waiting to have her hair done!

Of course we had to have some more drama on the way back. Ryan Air herded us onto the plane like we were cattle, having crammed us all in they then announce they can't shut the door because the ladders were stuck and it took them another 50 minutes to sort out the problem. But due to the nature of our illnesses I needed the toilet and had to suffer the humiliation of the air stewardess asking permission down the tannoy if I could use it! Then back in the UK, much later than expected Mr P can't find the carpark ticket, just the paperwork to say we'd paid - thankfully the attendant kindly let us through. Somehow we arrived home at 2.30am instead of around 12:00.

Monday am was a trip to the doctors for a double appointment for both of us and a sick note! Today has been the first day of even feeling somewhat starting to feel normal. I have lost at least 6kg in weight which is a good boost to my new diet regime. So there are some positives to these 2 weeks. And of course it was such a privilege to have managed to be at the wedding. Also being so incapacitated has shown me lots of things I didn't know and I know it will lead me to be a better person and also hopefully better at my job when I eventually return. Next week I shall be receiving some physio which I know will really help my recovery.

Apologies for such a long blog - but I'm either all or nothing!